Christiaan van der Klaauw Real Moon 1980 – impressive moon phase watch

The Christiaan van der Klaauw Real Moon 1980 – A Masterpiece of Astronomical Horology

Christiaan van der Klaauw Real Moon 1980
Christiaan van der Klaauw Real Moon 1980

The small Dutch independent watchmaker Christiaan van der Klaauw has made a name for himself creating intricate astronomical watches and clocks. His cutting-edge Real Moon 1980 wristwatch represents the pinnacle of his celestial horological skills. This post explores why the Real Moon 1980 is considered one of the most impressive moon phase watches ever made.

Who is Christiaan van der Klaauw?

Based in Leiden, Netherlands, Christiaan van der Klaauw is a master watchmaker specializing in astronomical complications.

He founded his workshop in 1974 focusing on crafting celestial clocks. Van der Klaauw quickly built a reputation internationally for his highly innovative and meticulously finished astronomical timepieces.

In 1994, he expanded into complex wristwatches, bringing his love of recreating cosmic mechanics into a miniature form. His watches feature a deep fascination with accurately tracking and displaying astronomical phenomena.

All Christiaan van der Klaauw watches are almost entirely handmade in-house by the watchmaker himself. Only very limited numbers are produced annually, making them exclusive and sought after collector’s items. I have covered other watches by him such as the Planetarium model

What Makes the Real Moon 1980 Truly Exceptional?

The Real Moon 1980 encapsulates van der Klaauw’s talent for miniaturization and celestial precision. It features a range of astronomical complications that showcase his mastery of mechanical innovation.

1. Incredible Moon Phase Accuracy

The watch’s namesake complication is its awe-inspiring 3D moon phase located at 6 o’clock. This rotating moon sphere replicates the lunar cycle more precisely than any other mechanical wristwatch in existence.

  • Most quality moon phase watches drift 1 day per 122 years
  • The Real Moon 1980 only drifts 1 day per 5,400 years

This unbelievable accuracy is achieved by a specially fabricated 495 tooth moon gear. Van der Klaauw’s moon complication outperforms all competitors by multitudes.

2. Additional Astronomical Indicators

Beyond just the moon phase, the Real Moon 1980 provides further cosmic insights:

  • Sun Declination: Shows height of sun at different seasons
  • Eclipse Hand: Indicates when solar/lunar eclipses occur worldwide

These extra celestial functions underline van der Klaauw’s fixation with recreating the solar system.

3. Artistic Execution

The watch’s striking dial focuses all attention on the mesmerizing solar system animations. Van der Klaauw dresses the complications in simple, tasteful style:

  • Clean black and white color scheme
  • Restrained use of text for refined elegance
  • Openworked hands in blue steel to perfectly complement the 3D moon

The result is harmony between science and artistry.

Christiaan van der Klaauw Real Moon 1980
Christiaan van der Klaauw Real Moon 1980

Exploring the Peerless Precision of the 3D Moon Phase

Van der Klaauw’s moon phase 3D sphere is regarded as a towering achievement in watchmaking. Let’s break down why it represents a huge horological milestone.

How Most Moon Phases Work

In standard moon phase watches, a small disc prints the moon’s changing faces as it rotates through 29.5 days. This disc is geared to make a full revolution each lunar cycle.

To save power most use a basic 59 tooth gear, causing an error of 44 minutes per cycle. This adds up to one full day after 2-8 years.

The Game Changing 495 Tooth Gear

Van der Klaauw refused to accept inaccuracies in representing cosmic rhythms. He pioneered a special moon gear with 495 teeth to drastically improve precision.

This refined gearing provides accuracy to within several hours per decade rather than days per handful of years. It’s an astronomical leap forward.

Adjustment Only Needed Every 5,400 Years

By incorporating ultra-precise gearing, van der Klaauw achieved unprecedented accuracy:

  • His moon phase drifts just 2 hours per 500 years
  • Meaning adjustment is only required once per 5,400 years

This moon mechanism won’t need human correction until the year 7400 AD!

No other mechanical wristwatch comes remotely close this kind of celestial perfection. It’s lightyears ahead.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1450202252.125274 Christiaan van der Klaauw Real Moon 1980 - impressive moon phase watch

Specifics of the Real Moon 1980

Let’s analyze the specifics that make this watch such an astronomical masterpiece:


  • Automatic winding Caliber CVDK7384
  • 35 jewels
  • Twin mainspring barrels
  • 96 hour max power reserve


  • 40mm case diameter
  • 11.8mm thickness
  • 49mm lug to lug length


  • Hours, minutes
  • Date, day, month
  • 3D moon phase
  • Sun declination
  • Solar & lunar eclipse indicator

Case & Dial

  • Steel case with exhibition back
  • Domed sapphire crystal
  • Black dial with white printed graphics
  • Blued steel hands


  • Hand-stitched black leather
  • Signed folding steel buckle

Every single element of this watch showcases van der Klaauw’s unbelievable skills in astronomical horology.

Why The Real Moon 1980 is a Milestone Among Moon Phases

By combining peerless precision with captivating cosmic animations, this watch earns acclaim as a historic achievement.

1. Record-Breaking Accuracy

The near-perfect moon phase is rightfully considered one of watchmaking’s greatest ever technical accomplishments.

2. Pioneering 3D Engineering

Van der Klaauw’s spherical moon celebration translates lunar motions into mesmerizing mechanical poetry.

3. Ultimate Expression of Creator’s Vision

This watch fully realizes van der Klaauw’s dream of miniaturizing a mechanical solar system filled with cosmic harmony.

The Christiaan van der Klaauw Real Moon 1980 represents the life’s work of an astronomical horology genius at the peak of his creative powers.

Conclusion: A Masterpiece of Astronomical Watchmaking

In summary, Christiaan van der Klaauw Real Moon 1980 watch:

  • Displays the moon phase with record-shattering accuracy only needing adjustment once per 5,400 years
  • Features groundbreaking engineering in its 3D rotating moon sphere
  • Provides added astronomical functions like sun declination and eclipse indication
  • Executes its celestial showpiece at a miniature scale requiring immense expertise
  • Showcases van der Klaauw’s mastery of astronomically precise mechanical miniaturization

As a culmination of its maker’s astronomical obsession and independent watchmaking passion, the Christiaan van der Klaauw Real Moon 1980 represents a historic landmark in horological innovation. It rightfully deserves recognition as one of the most impressive moon phase watches ever created.

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